Sometimes, I get these ideas in my head. And I cannot rest until I have executed them. Sometimes these experiments go awry; sometimes, as here, they are delicious beyond any imagining. I found a solid recipe for peanut butter cupcakes (this one is very delicious but not vegan; you can certainly substitute a vegan recipe if you like) and dropped pockets of strawberry preserves right into the batter, instead of filling them more traditionally with a pastry bag. This was easier, more beautiful, and allowed me to put in lots of jelly, which is what I wanted.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (maybe an extra splash if the batter is too goopy)
You'll also, of course, need jelly or fruit preserves, in the flavor of your choice; I was using delicious strawberry preserves from Trader Joe's, but if your preserves are too liquidy, you might want to strain some of the liquid off first.
Preheat oven to 350F. Get your muffin tin ready with paper liners or set out your silicone cups (which is what I use).
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Mix in egg. Add vanilla and beat for 1 minute or until the batter is smooth.
Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until the flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth. I threw in an extra splash of milk here because I thought it looked too thick.
Plop a small drop of batter into each cup, using your spoon to smooth it up the sides of the cup a bit so you create a sort of well for the jelly. (This is something I didn't think to do at the time but should have done. But my cupcakes came out awesome anyway.) Plop in as much jelly as you want (but don't go crazy here) and then cover with batter. You can fill these pretty full; they seem to be able to handle it.
Bake about 20-22 minutes until the tops are just firm and beautifully golden; it will be hard to test them with a fork or toothpick, due to that whole filled-with-jelly thing, but you can try. Mine had cracks on the top, making them look like peanut butter cookies from above, which I liked. Cool them away from your still-warm oven and serve with a frosty glass of soy/rice/almond/cow/goat milk. Or a beer. Be prepared for your facial muscles to stick in an expression like this one when you eat them:
I was originally planning on making a frosting for these, but when I tried them I realized they were perfect and anything more would be too much. However, if you're serving these as a dessert and not just cramming them all into your face at once, I do think a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream (or your favorite vegan sub) would be a wonderful addition.
Here you can see the jelly pockets poking through.
My hand model, Chris Riggs, displays the inner workings of the cupcake. Luckily he works for baked goods.